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Summary of question
Why has God not protected Masjidul Haram and Ka'bah against floods and other disasters?
question
We read in history that natural events such as flash floods have damaged the Ka’bah throughout history without divine intervention. It is stated that in the year 1039 A.H. Mecca was destroyed by floods entering the city and Masjidul Haram killing as many as four thousand people. Part of the Ka'bah was destroyed in that incident. My questions are: Does God not defend Mecca and the holy lands? And aren't' God's noble servants like the Holy Prophet and Imams the defenders of Mecca against destructive forces? Did God not tell that the religion of Islam will endure and continue to exist as long as the Ka'bah remains erect? Why was the Ka'bah destroyed completely after that incident and then it was restored and rebuilt? Was there any wisdom behind the flood and loss of lives in that year? As far as I know, ever since that incident, no other flash floods have entered Mecca and Ka'bah has remained intact. I request you to kindly give a comprehensive and detailed answer to the foregoing questions.
Concise answer

Ka'bah and Masjidul Haram (Grand Mosque) are the most sacred, most revered and most valuable places on earth. The building of Ka'bah is made of earthly materials. All the laws governing the material world govern the House of God as well. Thus, it is vulnerable against floods, earthquakes, fires and explosions. God, the Almighty, did not alter the universal law in order to protect this House.

It should be noted that safeguarding the Ka'bah does not mean protecting its building against damages and erosions; rather it means preserving and maintaining its sanctity in people's hearts and minds so that whenever the Ka'bah is destroyed, the same people should embark on rebuilding it with all their might. Indeed, there are some instances such as the attack of Ashaab al Fil (the Companions of the Elephant) upon the Ka'bah which was repelled by birds at God's order. It is said that when Abraha prepared to enter the city, swarms of birds carrying small rocks came and bombarded the Ethiopian forces; each man that was hit was killed, and they fled in panic, as Abraha died a horrible death. This incident was to let everyone know that God's power is above all powers. No matter, how strong the enemies of God may be, they cannot protect and defend themselves against the smallest and weakest of God's creatures.

Detailed Answer

Ka'bah and Masjidul Haram are the most sacred, most revered and most valuable places on earth, because God, the Exalted, made Ka'bah on earth on a par with Baitul Ma'moor  (the Inhabited House) which is in the heavens and which the angels circumambulate around [1] so that mankind should have the opportunity to rotate around the House of God and attain divine proximity.

However, the same highly sacred and valuable building is material and earthly with all the worldly and natural laws governing it and applying to it. That is to say, the structure of the Ka'bah has been built on the surface of the earth with the existing materials and stones which are the cheapest materials in that land. It has a ceiling to protect it against sun heat and rains. It has a door and a padlock so that everyone may not enter it. It becomes dirty because of pollution and dirty dust and that it needs to be washed. In all, it is subservient to natural laws.

One of the laws governing this sacred place is that it is vulnerable to floods, earthquakes, fires and explosions. If it is said that God protects this house, it does not mean that if its walls are made of stone and mud and it is overrun by floods, then it will remain intact and its muddy walls will not dissolver in water against all the rules governing the world. Definitely, the muddy wall will be eroded, and a wall with these materials will be destroyed wherever it is. And if there is anyone under its walls and they collapse, he will surely be harmed. However, if the same walls are made of cement or molten lead, they will not be vulnerable against flood and water but they will be vulnerable against explosions because the Quran says, "… Thou wilt not find for the law of Allah aught of power to change." [2] It has been narrated that "all things are in God's hand and they take place through their causes and in fixed quantity…" [3]  

Therefore, in the same way that the bodies of the prophets and imams are subservient to universal laws and these noble servants of God suffered wounds and succumbed to martyrdom, the Ka'bah and Masjidul Haram are also subservient to divine laws despite their sanctity and reverence. Thus, God has never altered the universal law in this regard.

Indeed, there are some instances such as the attack of Ashaab al Fil (the Companions of the Elephant) upon the Ka'bah which was repelled by birds at God's will. It is said that when Abraha prepared to enter the city, swarms of birds carrying small rocks came and bombarded the Ethiopian forces; each man that was hit was killed, and they fled in panic, as Abraha died a horrible death. This incident was to let everyone know that God's power is above all powers. No matter, how strong the enemies of God may be, they cannot protect and defend themselves against the smallest and weakest of God's creatures.

Surely, God protects His house and His religion but He protects them through the regular ways and ordinary means without altering the universal laws.

It should be noted that protecting the Ka'bah does not mean safeguarding its building against damages and erosions; rather it means preserving and maintaining its sanctity in people's hearts and minds so that whenever the Ka'bah is destroyed, the same people should rebuild it with all their might.

Index: The Imams and the Ability to Protect Their Shrines, questions 1287 (site: 1271)

Index: Why didn’t God save Imam Hussein (a.s.) from getting killed? Question 6620 (site:8323) .



[1] - Behar al-Anwar, vol.96, pg.57, hadith 9:

"وَ رُوِیَ عَنِ الصَّادِقِ ع أَنَّهُ سُئِلَ لِمَ سُمِّیَتِ الْکَعْبَةُ قَالَ لِأَنَّهَا مُرَبَّعَةٌ فَقِیلَ لَهُ وَ لِمَ صَارَتْ مُرَبَّعَةً قَالَ لِأَنَّهَا بِحِذَاءِ الْبَیْتِ الْمَعْمُورِ وَ هُوَ مُرَبَّعٌ فَقِیلَ لَهُ وَ لِمَ صَارَ بَیْتُ الْمَعْمُورِ مُرَبَّعاً قَالَ لِأَنَّهُ بِحِذَاءِ الْعَرْشِ وَ هُوَ مُرَبَّعٌ فَقِیلَ لَهُ وَ لِمَ صَارَ الْعَرْشُ مُرَبَّعاً قَالَ لِأَنَّ الْکَلِمَاتِ الَّتِی بُنِیَ عَلَیْهَا الْإِسْلَامُ أَرْبَعٌ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ وَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَ اللَّهُ أَکْبَرُ".

[2] - Fath (Victory): 23 "... وَ لَنْ تَجِدَ لِسُنَّةِ اللَّهِ تَبْدیلا" .

[3] - Al-Kafi, vol.5, pg.373,

، "ثُمَّ إِنَّ هَذِهِ الْأُمُورَ کُلَّهَا بِیَدِ اللَّهِ تَجْرِی إِلَى أَسْبَابِهَا وَ مَقَادِیرِهَا فَأَمْرُ اللَّهِ یَجْرِی إِلَى قَدَرِهِ وَ قَدَرُهُ یَجْرِی إِلَى أَجَلِه‏".

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